On Easter weekend, more than 225 individuals from various organizations around the Kansas City area, including UpliftSpring Hill High School and Life Church came together to serve those less fortunate.

Uplift is a homeless outreach program that strives to feed and clothe the area’s homeless by delivering basic human needs, care and compassion. Volunteers from Spring Hill High School’s Volunteer Club and Life Church gathered to help them clean up the city’s homeless camps.

The individuals started off their morning at the Salvation Army and then split into groups throughout the city. Our group drove right past the River Market to 1st and Grand and walked less than a mile to find camps in the tree line near the railroad tracks.

The camps were made of old blankets or make-shift tents. As we started to dive in, we realized the hardest part was trying to decide what the homeless people might need… Could they use this to hold water? Would this provide them with protection from the weather?

As we were walking to another location, a volunteer told me that she had been here before. She said she saw Scott Lamaster, Founder and CEO of Taking It To The Streets, collect money from the campers. He keeps it safe until they save enough to get an apartment.

We met a camper who was an older Marine that had been living there since November.  He warned us not to be afraid of him, as he was a veteran that looked after the others staying nearby. While we were there, one of his buddies came to visit and joyfully told us he recently got an apartment.

Who would have known, a few blocks away from the River Market, there is a community of people just trying to survive? This experience was very humbling and we were glad to spend it with like-minded individuals.